Fewer flatscreen TVs: Consumer cutbacks chop US trade deficit


The pronounced recession that has created hardships in every quarter of U.S. society has led to one long-term benefit for the U.S. economy: a decreasing trade deficit. This will benefit the U.S. economy long-term if the present trend of lower imports continues. The other side of the ledger -- exports, which although still growing are now growing anemically -- are expected to accelerate once the economy starts to recover.

Imports fell sharply again in February, down 5.1 percent to $152.7 billion, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. When weighed against the month's 1.6 percent increase in exports to $126.8 billion, that brought the trade deficit to $26 billion -- the lowest monthly deficit since 1999. Further, the trade deficit is down 58 percent compared to a year ago, with imports plunging 29 percent and exports falling 17 percent during that period.